The Reds bullpen is really missing this key contributor

Atlanta Braves v Cincinnati Reds
Atlanta Braves v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds currently feature one of the top ranked bullpens in the majors in a few major categories. Reds relievers rank in the top 10 in ERA and are one of just five teams that has recorded 200 strikeouts.

However, there are a few weak links in the bullpen. No disrespect to Silvino Brancho and Alan Busenitz, but those two aren't really moving the needle.

The Reds are missing a ton of hurlers, including Vladimir Gutierrez, Fernando Cruz, Justin Dunn, Casey Legumina, Reiver Sanmartin, and Tony Santillan. While any of these arms would be helpful, Tejay Antone may be the best reliever missing from the Reds bullpen.

The Reds bullpen is really missing this key contributor

Tejay Antone missed time in 2021 with a forearm strain before having season-ending Tommy John surgery. Antone missed all of 2022 and a setback has seen the right-hander placed on the 60-day IL to begin the 2023 season as well.

This injury marks the second time in his career that Antone has torn his UCL, resulting in the daunting recovery from Tommy John surgery. However, Antone is recovering and has his eyes a return later this season.

Just recently, Antone has begun to spin breaking balls in his flat ground work, looking to transition to the mound soon. This is tremendous news for Reds fans, as his slider and curveball have been two of MLB's best breaking pitches since his debut in 2020.

Antone would add a shutdown reliever in the back end of the bullpen to pair alongside the closer, Alexis Diaz. The second-year hurler is currently sits on a 2.48 career ERA while holding a WHIP below a 1.000.

The biggest question mark, following another elbow surgery, will be his spin rate and the movement of his pitches. He threw his breaking pitches a staggering 68-percent of the time in 2021, compared to just 32-percent fastballs per Baseball Savant.

If his forearm and elbow can recover correctly and fully, this will allow him to throw his curveball (.077 BAA) and his slider (.150 BAA) with the same intensity and efficiency as before the injury.

The return of Tejay Antone will completely rejuvenate the Cincinnati Reds bullpen, catapulting it higher up with the best in the MLB. Expect Antone to be back in a Reds uniform this season.

Next. 2 Reds players who should have extension talks paused. dark